Happy Birthday Rio de Janeiro

March 1st marks my favorite musical city’s 454th birthday. Click here for the surprising story behind Caetano Veloso’s impromptu tribute. (Scott Adams)

Happy Birthday, Rio de Janeiro! The city ranks high up on my short list of favorite birthdays and March 1st marks its 454th.

by Scot Adams

The city was officially founded at the foot of the Sugarloaf Mountain in 1565 by Estácio de Sá, a Portuguese knight who named it after Portugal’s King Sebastian I by proclaiming the city as São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (Saint Sebastian of the river of January).

Caetano’s song for the city

São Sebastião doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Rio”, but it resonates with Caetano Veloso’s impromptu version of Rio’s official song, ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ just ahead of his US concert tour next month.

The six-city tour will bring him to Oakland, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, North Bethesda, Cambridge and to Chicago’s Symphony Center.

Happy birthday Rio de Janeiro! Chicago's Symphony Center Presents Caetano Veloso & Sons in their only Midwest convert event, Tuesday April 9th. Show time is 8 pm.
One Night Only! Caetano Veloso at Chicago’s Symphony Center. His only Midwest appearance.

Yes, there will be cake

Locals and tourists can join in the celebration with a 66-foot-long cake and a jubilant chorus of “happy birthday, Rio de Janeiro”!

It’s part of the city’s official party organized by SARCA, the Sociedade Amigos da Rua da Carioca e Adjacências. Head over to Largo do Carioca, a great starting point for a walking tour of Rio’s Centro district.

The party is a local tradition that goes back nearly 40 years.

Celebrate with us

The Sounds of Brazil’s streaming station at Connectbrazil.com will play at least one ‘Rio’ song every hour during the Midday Show today (9 am – 3 pm CT). You’ll find the PLAY button at the bottom of your screen.

Or, just deep dive with three of our 12 streaming channels: Cafe Copacabana, All Jobim or BossaNovaville. Always free. Happy birthday, Rio de Janeiro!